By Madeline Alvarez, Sports Editor
The Party on the Plaza fundraiser is coming up, and will feature a new theme this year. “Return to the Renaissance,” was inspired by the Renaissance Faire that Newman used to put on annually. Party on the Plaza will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, beginning with Mass and then dinner following on Founders’ Plaza.
Party on the Plaza is the university’s annual fundraiser for student scholarships. Laura Hartley, Director of Alumni and Campus Events, said that the planning committee for the Party on the Plaza chose the Renaissance theme to switch up the event.
“We decided to go with the renaissance theme because we were looking for something fun to do and a lot of us have memories of coming to Newman for the renaissance faire or working the renaissance faire…. So we just thought that having the Party on the Plaza theme be renaissance would be really fun and kind of reminiscent for a lot of Newman,” Hartley said.
Sister Charlotte Rohrbach said that the Newman Renaissance Faire began as a student’s project and eventually grew to a big event that served as the university’s original fundraiser for scholarships. She said that the event ran from the mid 1970s until the early 2000s, and that it had to be discontinued because of renovations to buildings that made the space outside that had been used for the Faire inaccessible.
“Two major fundraising things… are coming together,” Rohrbach said. “There was an evolvement that took place with creating Party on the Plaza.”
She said that Party on the Plaza started out as “Party on the Ponderosa,” which was, then chair of the board of trustees, Larry Steckline’s idea. It began in the late 1990s and was held on his land. Its purpose was to raise money for student scholarships through auctions. The event was eventually moved to campus around 2009 and was held on the then new Founders’ Plaza. The plaza features a statue of Maria De Mattias, the foundress of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, which is the order of religious sisters which founded Newman.
“The statue is right in the middle, and we do it around that. So it’s kind of like we’re right there where our founders are being honored, and, as I always say, that’s the symbol that tells us who we are as our mission and our vision,” Rohrbach said.
Rohrbach said that the money raised from Party on the Plaza is more than double the amount that the Renaissance Faire used to raise.
“I go every year. I will be there,” Rohrbach said. “I’m always there, and I try to visit with the people and thank them for coming.”
Hartley said that items from the Renaissance Faire will be incorporated into Party on the Plaza, including posters, an archery game, turkey legs, and costumes. The Troubadours and students from the theatre department will perform pieces that have renaissance themes.
“The hope is that it has a really fun atmosphere,” Hartley said. “It should be a fun time.”
Hartley said that theme has seemed to interest more people in coming to the event and that there will be close to 500 people present. There will be around 60 silent auction items available and 11 live auction items.
Hartley said that students have the opportunity to earn community service hours at the event.
“We would love as many students there as possible, and we definitely need more people to volunteer,” Hartley said.
Student volunteers will be tasked with helping the catering staff to serve dinner, monitoring the live and silent auctions, and greeting guests.
Students who are interested in volunteering should email Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The people at the event love having the students there and I think the students have a fun time,” Hartley said.
Tickets for Party on the Plaza are $120 and can be purchased at wichitapop.com.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo. Newman Advancement.